Pacquiao still a 'hero,' Army says
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Army is still likely to honor Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao despite his controversial loss to American Timothy Bradley.
Army spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc said military leaders have already expressed their verbal commendation for Pacquiao, who is currently a reserve lieutenant colonel and deputy commander of the Saranggani Army Reserve Command.
"Possible pa ring bigyan siya ng pagkilala dahil sa paniniwala ng mga sundalo panalo pa rin siya. Hinihintay na lang kung anong pagkilala depende sa unit commander," Cabunoc said. "Sigurado akong magbigay daan ang pamunuan ng Army dito."
Cabunoc said honors for Pacquiao will be not just because of his fight against Bradley but also because of his other achievements as an officer of the Army Reserve Command.
"Hindi lang namin tinitingan kung paano siya maglaro sa ring, pati yung kanyang behavior, for example ipanakita niya pagkumbaba at respeto sa otoridad na nagdesisyon sa laro, kasama na mga ginagawa niya sa kanyang komunidad," he said.
He said Pacquiao has been active in community relations projects of the Army in Saranggani and other parts of the country.
Some wounded soldiers being treated at the Army hospital were extremely disappointed with the results of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight.
They said Pacquiao is still their "hero."
"Iyung pinakita na laban ni Pacquiao, okay naman po. Andun pa rin bilis at galing, kaya lang bakit natalo siya sir?" Private 1st Class Roger Cardinal asked.
Another wounded soldier, PFC Jerome Orel, said "para sa akin, bayani pa rin si Pacquiao kasi ginawa pa rin kakayahan niya para ipanalo yung boksing."
PFC Jesus Dacutanan, meanwhile, said Pacquiao seemed to have slowed down. "Parang naawa siya sa kalaban niya pero sa totoo lang si pacquiao pa rin ang bayani para sa amin."
Dacutanan asked Pacquiao's critics to look at his contribution to Philippine boxing history. "Nakikita lang ng ibang tao yung talo, paano yung mga ginawa niyang mga nauna niyang laban?"
The Army honored Pacquiao with a testimonial parade on May 24 last year.
Cabunoc said the Army can give either another testimonial parade for Pacquiao or award him a military merit medal, an award of merit plaque, or a commendation certificate for promotion.